There were several high-ranked players on the board when the Carolina Hurricanes selected 27th in the 2009 Entry Draft. But despite Drew Shore's jam, Landon Ferraro's bloodlines, Jeremy Morin's scoring acumen and Carter Ashton's size and family history, the Canes went off the board and chose Philippe Paradis, a 6-2 forward from Shawinigan of the QMJHL.
Paradis has played with the Cataractes the past two years, scoring 19 goals and 31 assists in 66 games this past season. In 2007-08, the center/wing had 11 goals and 12 assists in 45 games.
Paradis does have the size GM Jim Rutherford said he craved in this draft, and he seems to fit the mold of what Carolina wants: willling to hit, a solid offensive-zone cycler, someone who will win the small battles. He also won the Hardest Shot competition at the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition, registering a 95.7 mph shot. But the big question is could Carolina have gotten him later, either by trading down or hoping he'd be available at No. 51, when they pick in Round 2?
At the end of the day, draft rankings aren't worth a thing, but we will point out that none of the six major prospect rankings had Paradis as high as No. 27. Central Scouting rated Paradis the highest, placing him as the No. 26 skater in North America (but we can assume he was behind quite a few of the Europeans). Bob McKenzie of TSN and Red Line Report each rated him 40th, while McKeen's had him 48th. ISS not only rated him No. 88, but also had him No. 4 on their "Overrated" list (it's worth noting Ashton was third on that list). Canes Country, like McKeen's, ranked Paradis No. 48. Marcus Johansson, chosen 24th by Washington, was also picked 21 selections earlier than the Canes Country Rank, while the Isles' trade-up-and-select choice of defenseman Calvin de Haan at No. 12 was 20 slots higher than we had him ranked.
This was also an uncharacteristic pick by Carolina. The franchise had not selected a QMJHL player higher than the third round since moving to Raleigh, and 1995 first-rounder Jean-Sebastian Giguere was the last time the organization — then the Hartford Whalers — chose a QMJHL player in Round 1.
But as they say, the draft is just step one in the careers of these players, and Paradis is a talented player that obviously caught the eye of the Hurricanes scouts.
The Canes are set to choose 51st in the second round, and I expect they will target a defenseman. Stefan Elliot, Brayden McNabb, Mac Bennett and Ryan Button could all be available. Carolina could also look to a falling forward like they did last year when first-round talent Zac Dalpe landed in their lap in Round 2. Drew Shore, Ryan O'Reilly, Morin, Ferraro and others are still all available. With their later picks, expect more size and perhaps one goaltender.
Bubba will be covering the Hurricanes' draft media event tomorrow, so keep an eye on Canes Country for news and analysis. Rounds 2-7 begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow and can be watched on the NHL Network.